Every time you log in to LinkedIn you see that little “% complete” bar just sitting there, nagging you. Maybe you give in and fill out all the details LinkedIn wants, or maybe you procrastinate and let that 40% stay at 40%. My advice? Complete that thing. You’ll thank me later.
They say that 60%-80% of jobs are found through personal relationships. In this day and age that includes online networking and professional networking sites like LinkedIn. You may think that it’s enough to just have the basics of your most recent job on your profile, but you’d be wrong. Your entire history matters and here’s why.
You make professional connections throughout your career, not just in your current or latest job. When you make those connections, the people you meet remember you in the context they met you in, including the profession you were in. Unless you regularly meet with your professional contacts and constantly refresh their memory of you in the new professional context, they will remember you for the person you were when you met. If and when an opportunity arises, you want enough information on your LinkedIn profile to trigger those key memories, and you also want enough supplemental information about later positions to complete the picture of what you’re doing now. The combination of the two will give your professional connection enough information to judge whether they should contact you for an opportunity or not.
Take me for example. My first “official” marketing role was at Google (I was freelancing before that). I still get contacted about opportunities because of that one year of my life. Other people get in touch with me because of my financial services experience from my Real and Hollard days. It doesn’t matter that I’ve since ran marketing for a global tech company, for example – to the financial services folks it’s the insurance experience that was most important and everything else is just icing on the cake.
So next time you log in to LinkedIn, take a look at that little bar. If it says anything under 90% complete, take a few minutes to add your professional details. You never know what opportunities will come your way!